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Rating Action:

Moody's takes rating actions on five Uzbek banks

15 Sep 2017

London, 15 September 2017 -- Moody's Investors Service has today taken rating actions on five Uzbek banks. Moody's downgraded the Baseline Credit Assessments (BCAs) and Adjusted BCAs of National Bank of Uzbekistan (National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of the Republic of Uzbekistan, NBU) and Ipoteka Bank to b3 from b2 and affirmed these two banks' long- and short-term deposit ratings, with stable outlooks on the long-term deposit ratings. NBU's and Ipoteka Bank's B1(cr)/NP(cr) long- and short-term Counterparty Risk Assessments (CRAs) were also affirmed. Moody's has also changed the outlooks to negative from stable on the long-term deposit ratings of Asaka Bank, Ipak Yuli Bank and Hamkorbank, while the banks' BCA's, deposit ratings and CRAs were affirmed.

Moody's rating actions follow the Central Bank of Uzbekistan's devaluation of the local currency, the Uzbek soum, by almost 50% against the US dollar, to UZS8,100 per dollar on 5 September 2017. The rating action reflects the expected negative impact of the devaluation on asset quality, capitalization and profitability of these banks, as the credit quality of the banks' borrowers will likely deteriorate.

Moody's rating action also takes into consideration the upcoming capital injections from Uzbekistan's Ministry of Finance (MinFin) and from the state Fund for Reconstruction and Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan (FRDU) to NBU, Asaka Bank and Ipoteka Bank. These capital injections partially offset the immediate negative impact of the devaluation.

A full list of affected ratings is provided towards the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

-- NATIONAL BANK OF UZBEKISTAN

The downgrade of NBU's BCA to b3 from b2 mostly reflects the bank's substantial exposure to foreign currency loans. At 1 January 2017, these loans stood at 73% of the bank's total gross loan book, much higher than the 23% average proportion for other banks rated by Moody's in Uzbekistan. Moody's estimates that approximately 60% of all foreign currency loans are issued to borrowers with foreign currency revenues. Government guarantees, which cover 55% of NBU's loan portfolio, partially mitigate the risk. However, the rating agency has not so far observed any significant cases of enforcement of such guarantees, and it expects that the servicing of foreign currency loans by borrowers may worsen as borrowers may be lacking foreign currency revenues.

Moody's also notes the fast cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of NBU's loan portfolio in 2012-2016, which exceeded 23%, whereas growth in capital lagged significantly behind with CAGR of 14%. This was possible because the statutory regulation allows local banks to apply 20% risk weights to credit exposures guaranteed by the government. In 2017, NBU received UZS120 billion from MinFin and USD51 million from FRDU, which will be transferred to the bank's Tier 1 capital by the end of 2017 and will improve its capital adequacy metrics with estimated tangible common equity exceeding 11% of risk-weighted assets.

NBU's ratings continue to incorporate a very high probability of the government support, which results in the uplift to the bank's long-term local currency deposit rating by two notches to B1 from its BCA of b3. NBU is fully owned by the government, acts as the government's major agent in the channeling of government and international financing to the state's strategic and socially important projects and holds 25% of the Uzbekistan banking sector total assets.

-- ASAKA BANK

The change in outlook on the long-term bank deposit ratings of Asaka Bank to negative from stable is driven by the adverse pressure on the bank's standalone credit profile over the next 12-18 months, prompted by the expected deterioration of the loan book quality along with increase in provisioning charges.

According to the local GAAP report as of 1 August 2017, foreign currency loans accounted for 59% of the bank's total lending. Moody's estimates that more than 85% of foreign currency loans were provided to large state-owned enterprises from chemical and energy sectors which have export revenues to mitigate foreign currency risks. In addition, about 95% of foreign-currency lending was covered by state guarantees.

For the rest of the loan portfolio, Moody's expects pressure on asset quality and an increase in credit costs driven by the deteriorating creditworthiness of the borrowers that are dependent on imported goods and equipment. The adverse impact is aggravated by the bank's significant concentration of the loan portfolio with the 20 largest exposures exceeding 500% of Tier 1 equity, which may lead to a detrimental effect on the bank's asset quality should some of these borrowers default.

At the same time, the affirmation of Asaka Bank's b2 BCA takes into account the bank's improving capitalization. The bank recently received a USD70 million equity injection from the FRDU and UZS140 billion from MinFin, which will be transferred into its Tier 1 capital by the end of 2017. This will materially improve Asaka Bank's capital adequacy metrics with estimated tangible common equity exceeding 13% of risk-weighted assets.

Asaka Bank's deposit ratings incorporate a high probability of the government support which results in the uplift of the bank's long-term local currency deposit rating by one notch to B1 from its BCA of b2.

-- IPOTEKA BANK

The downgrade of Ipoteka Bank's BCA to b3 from b2 reflects its substantial exposure to foreign currency loans, high credit concentration and the history of very fast loan growth, which was not always supported by similar capital growth. At 1 July 2017, the proportion of Ipoteka Bank's foreign currency loans stood at 35% of the bank's total loans, dominated by one credit exposure issued to a large export-oriented state-owned company (88% of all foreign currency loans). Although this borrower appears to have sufficient foreign currency revenues to service its loan, and in addition 71% of the total exposure to this borrower is covered by the government guarantee, Moody's notes the very high level of the bank's credit concentration driven by this exposure. At 1 July 2017, it exceeded 4x of the bank's equity, according to the rating agency's estimate. When Ipoteka Bank finalizes its capital increase transaction towards the end of 2017, this exposure will still exceed 2x of the bank's equity, keeping the bank highly dependent on the financial standing of just one borrower.

Over 2012-2016, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of Ipoteka Bank loan portfolio was 38%, much higher than the 20-25% sector-average. The 25% CAGR of Ipoteka Bank's capital lagged behind, because the statutory regulation allows local banks to apply 20% risk weights to credit exposures guaranteed by the government. In 2017, Ipoteka Bank received UZS107 billion from MinFin and USD60 million from FRDU which will be transferred to the bank's Tier 1 capital by the end of 2017. This will materially improve Ipoteka Bank's capital adequacy metrics with an estimated tangible common equity exceeding 12% of risk-weighted assets, which partially alleviates Moody's concerns over the potential negative impact on the bank's financial profile stemming from its high credit concentration and the long-standing gap between the bank's asset growth and equity growth.

Ipoteka Bank's deposit ratings continue to incorporate a moderate probability of the government support, which results in the uplift of the bank's long-term local currency deposit rating by one notch to B2 from its BCA of b3. The government's aggregate direct stake in Ipoteka Bank (through MinFin and FRDU) will increase to above 70% post-capital injection. The bank holds 7% of the Uzbekistan banking sector total assets and is involved in the financing of a number of strategic and social projects carried out by the government.

-- IPAK YULI BANK

The change of the outlook on Ipak Yuli Bank's B2 long-term deposit rating to negative from stable reflects its material exposure to foreign currency loans as well as to the borrowers that are sensitive to local currency devaluation. Moody's estimates the bank's share of foreign currency loans at 29% of gross loans at 1 August 2017. A material portion of the foreign currency loan portfolio was provided to companies with no export revenues or reliant on the domestic market. In addition, the bank's credit exposure to the trade sector, which is sensitive to domestic demand and devaluation of local currency, exceeded 35% of its loan portfolio at 1 January 2017. Given worsened economic conditions and weakened borrowers' creditworthiness, Moody's expects deterioration of asset quality along with higher provisioning charges in the next 12-18 months.

The bank reported its tangible common equity (TCE) at 12.0% of its risk-weighted assets at 1 year-end 2016. As a result of the sharp soum devaluation and consequent revaluation of its risk-weighted assets, the bank's capital adequacy metrics will fall by approximately 150 basis points. This will be mitigated by projected equity contribution from the shareholders in the next couple of months and expected positive net financial result of the bank. The affirmation of the bank's ratings and BCA also considers robust pre-provision profitability (3.9% of average assets in 2016), high granularity of its loan portfolio and diversified funding structure with limited refinancing risks.

Ipak Yuli Bank's B2 long-term deposit ratings do not incorporate any uplift from external support and therefore are aligned with the bank's BCA of b2.

-- HAMKORBANK

The change in outlook on Hamkorbank's B2 deposit ratings to negative from stable reflects the bank's significant exposure to borrowers that are sensitive to local currency devaluation, as well as the history of the bank's very fast loan growth with the capital growth lagging somewhat behind. At 1 January 2017, Hamkorbank's aggregate credit exposure to borrowers operating in trade and service industries, mainly micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, stood at 18% of the bank's total gross loans, another 37% of loans were issued to individuals, of which a large proportion are individual entrepreneurs. Moody's expects that the credit quality of these groups of borrowers will deteriorate as a result of the devaluation, because they will suffer from higher inflation and weakened consumer demand.

Over 2012-2016, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of Hamkorbank loan portfolio was 52%, the capital CAGR of 42% lagged somewhat behind. Moody's expects that the past fast growth will likely exacerbate the negative impact of the devaluation on the quality of the bank's loans as the portfolio will mature in a less benign operating environment. At the same time, the affirmation of Hamkorbank's ratings and BCA takes into consideration its robust pre-provision profitability (4.5% of average assets in 2016), high granularity of its loan portfolio and diversified funding structure with limited refinancing risks.

Hamkorbank's B2 long-term deposit ratings do not incorporate any uplift from external support and therefore are aligned with the bank's BCA of b2.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

The ratings could be downgraded if the risk absorption capacity and financial fundamentals of the affected banks erode beyond Moody's current expectations, resulting from a further worsening in operating conditions. Conversely, improvements in the Uzbekistan operating environment and/or banks' demonstrated resilience to the consequences of local currency devaluation could exert upward pressure on NBU's and Ipoteka Bank's BCAs and could enable a return to stable rating outlooks on the ratings of Asaka Bank, Ipak Yuli Bank and Hamkorbank.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in January 2016. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: National Bank of Uzbekistan

Affirmations:

....LT Bank Deposits (Local Currency), Affirmed B1, Outlook Remains Stable

....LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), Affirmed B2, Outlook Remains Stable

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed NP

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed B1(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed NP(cr)

Downgrades:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to b3 from b2

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to b3 from b2

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Remains Stable

Issuer: Asaka Bank

Affirmations:

....LT Bank Deposits (Local Currency), Affirmed B1, Outlook Changed To Negative From Stable

....LT Bank Deposits (Foreign Currency), Affirmed B2, Outlook Assigned Negative

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed NP

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed b2

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed b2

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed B1(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed NP(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Stable

Issuer: Ipoteka Bank

Affirmations:

....LT Bank Deposits, Affirmed B2, Outlook Remains Stable

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed NP

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed B1(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed NP(cr)

Downgrades:

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to b3 from b2

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Downgraded to b3 from b2

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Remains Stable

Issuer: Ipak Yuli Bank

Affirmations:

....LT Bank Deposits, Affirmed B2, Outlook Changed To Negative From Stable

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed NP

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed b2

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed b2

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed B1(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed NP(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Stable

Issuer: Hamkorbank

Affirmations:

....LT Bank Deposits, Affirmed B2, Outlook Changed To Negative From Stable

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed NP

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed b2

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Affirmed b2

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed B1(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed NP(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Stable

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead rating analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Petr Paklin
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Limited, Russian Branch
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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